Definitions of Orthodontic Terms

Here are definitions of some of the most common orthodontic terms.

Impressions: A mold of your teeth which is used to make a model of them
Panoramic x-ray: An x-ray made by a machine that rotates around your head to give a full picture of your teeth and jaws
Closed bite: Where the upper teeth cover the lower teeth on biting down
Crossbite: Where some upper teeth are inside the lower teeth on biting down
Crowding: Too many teeth in too small a space
Fixed Appliance: Cemented or bonded to the teeth
Lingual Appliances: Fixed to the inside of the teeth
Malocclusion: Poor positioning of your teeth
Class I: Bite is fine as top teeth line up with bottom teeth but teeth are crooked or crowded
Class II: Upper teeth stick out past lower teeth (also called an “overbite”)
Class III: Lower teeth stick out past upper teeth (also called an “underbite”)
Occlusion: The alignment and spacing of upper and lower teeth on biting down
Open Bite: Teeth do not close or come together in the front of your mouth
Proper Occlusion: All teeth are straight and top teeth line up with bottom teeth
Wax Bite: Bitemark left on wax to measure how well teeth are aligned

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